You Can Finally Follow The Money

You know the old saying, “Follow the money”? Well, now you can. The new USA Spending.Gov is online, open and free to the public. If you go there, you can quickly find out where all those billions are being spent and who, exactly is getting it.

From the Washington Post:

“The story began late last year, when two other political opposites, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), sponsored legislation requiring the federal government to set up a searchable online database tracing federal budget spending by Jan. 1, 2008.

The goal was to make both the executive branch and Congress accountable for their spending decisions by allowing regular taxpayers to follow the money.

The legislation was the realization of a dream long held by a coalition of libertarians and liberals, fiscal conservatives and social-justice types, all of whom believe that greater budget transparency is the ideal way to achieve that accountability.

The government already provided some information, but it was scattered among agencies, confusing and largely inaccessible.”

The editorial on Digital Journal gives us this background:

“What made this possible was the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which was sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, (D-Il) and Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Ok), which requires a single searchable website, accessible by the public for free that includes for each Federal award:

1. The name of the entity receiving the award;
2. The amount of the award;
3. Information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc;
4. The location of the entity receiving the award;
5. A unique identifier of the entity receiving the award.”

And finally a bit more from The Examiner from December 13th:

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, the original sponsor of FFATA, was the featured speaker this morning at a news conference at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for creating and managing

Coburn lauded bloggers as “the key group in getting this done,” and predicted that “somebody is going to correlate FEC reports, the earmarks database and this database, and that’s what this is about, holding us accountable.” He encouraged bloggers to “get out there and start using this. I think it’s going to be a wildfire.”

In a separate joint statement with Coburn, Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, who was the first co-sponsor of FFATA, said the site “helps us achieve a very simple and powerful vision, a vision that in a democracy, people ought to know how their government is operating. This isn’t a Democratic vision or a Republican vision. It’s a vision that rejects the idea that government actions and decisions should be kept secret.”

I am Jon, and I found this kinda interesting, wanted to pass it along.